NEWS FLASH! SCR1 ruled unconstitutional, but session may go on

From Senator Larry George office, 1-28-2008

Court says it is unconstitutional to test annual sessions;
allows Legislature to call special session to address unnamed issues

Salem, OR – Judge Paul Lipscomb rejected SCR 1 and ruled today that it is unconstitutional for the Legislature to hold an emergency special session for the purpose of testing annual sessions. The court recognized that Oregon’s Constitution limits the legislature to biennial sessions and the legislature cannot test annual sessions without a constitutional amendment.

“I am very happy with the Court’s ruling which confirms my concerns,” said Senator Larry George (R-Sherwood) who originally filed the lawsuit questioning the legality of the special session. “‘Test driving’ annual sessions is a direct assault on the Oregon Constitution and ignores the fact that Oregon voters have repeatedly rejected annual sessions. Clearly the Democratic leadership recognized the lawsuit was going to expose the unconstitutionality of SCR1 when they declared other unnamed emergencies after our lawsuit was filed. I look forward to the Oregon Supreme Court taking the next step by rejecting this last minute stunt when the case appears before them later this week.”

The Legislature fast-tracked SCR1 through the legislature on the first day of last year’s session. SCR1 declared, more than one year in advance, that the legislature’s need to test annual sessions without submitting a constitutional amendment to voters was an emergency that would require the legislature to meet in February of 2008. The ruling does allow the February session to continue based on a new legislative declaration of emergency — a claim that was made after the lawsuit was filed.

“It is becoming clear that within the Legislature there is a growing disrespect for the rule of law and the Oregon Constitution,” said Senator Larry George (R-Sherwood) who originally filed the lawsuit questioning the legality of the special session. “The laws of Oregon and the voters of Oregonians matter, whether the Legislature wants to recognize it or not.”

The case now goes before the Oregon Supreme Court for review later this week.

“I believe this lawsuit may encourage more legislators in both parties to speak up when we see the legislative leadership’s ongoing and blatant disregard for a fair process, the rule of law, the Oregon constitution, and the will of the Oregon voters,” concluded George.


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Posted by at 05:45 | Posted in Measure 37 | 14 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Big Larry George Fan

    Go Larry Go! You’re awesome.

  • RinoWatch

    The Supremes will uphold Lipscomb’s lame ruling allowing “the February session to continue based on a new legislative declaration of emergency”….

    C’mon Larry, there is only one way to avoid breaking Oregon Constitutional Law.

    Don’t show up next week.


      Whether they have this “Emergency” session or not I think George won. The majority would have to declare an emergency session every year in order have their 2nd session………I doubt they’ll be willing to do that once the people see how little will get done this session. Senator George won!

      • rinowatch

        Granted, Larry “won”….. by showing Leadership! Leadership sorely lacking in his caucus (Ferrioli).


    I think its great, I going to hold out a little faith in the Supreme Court. I think they will feel insulted that the Majority is pulling this late game trick and put a stop to the session.

    We’ll see soon enough!

    • rinowatch

      C-Dude, I hope that you are right and I am wrong ’bout Supremes…

  • devietro

    Its a step in the right direction, should be fun to see where it goes.

  • M.H.

    First of all, I’d like to thank Senator George for pursuing this in court for the people of Oregon, since ‘we the people’ have no authority to do so.
    But what was accomplished? As soon as I heard that Judge Lipscomb was presiding over this case, I knew that this illegal session would not be stopped. Yea, he ruled that it’s unconstitutional, but let’s ignore that and let the train roll on anyway.

    • Anonymous

      If you have something to say, say it. If not keep your links to yourself.

    • Alan

      Constitution? Why let that document stop anybody now?


      Actually he ruled correctly in accordance to the test session issue. The Emergency Session is in the Constitution but up for interpetation which will now been done by the Supreme Court. This ploy may also backfire on the Majority Party since it is now in the Hands of the Supreme Court to define what an Emergency is. At the very worse the definition stays the same but I feel they will tighten the requirements to call for a Special Session which only hurts the Majority Party.

      If a Judge as liberal as Lipscomb rules that the Test Session is unconstitutional I have no doubt that the Supreme Court will uphold his ruling. Double loss for the DNC, plus this loss can be used to highlight their under handed tactics to the voters.

      • rinowatch

        Lest anyone forget (and I will absolutely remind as often as warranted), that there were Republican party accomplices to this shameful attack on the Oregon Constitution;

        Senators, Jason Atkinson, Frank Morse, David Nelson, & Jackie Winters.

        Reps., Vicki Berger — Scott Bruun — Kevin Cameron — Sal Esquivel — Bill Garrard — Wayne Krieger — Jerry Krummel — John Lim — Ron Maurer — Susan Morgan — Andy Olson — Dennis Richardson — Wayne Scott — Patti Smith……

        • CRAWDUDE

          I’m sure the Democrats consider them for what they are ” Useful Idiots”.

  • Jared D

    Thanks for wasting our hard-earned taxpayer money on a frivolous lawsuit, Sen. George. You think it would be better spent fixing our roads, but no, it has to be wasted on courts to squash your ridiculous argument.

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